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Company Introduction: Erie Insurance

Company Introduction : Erie Insurance


History: Erie Insurance was started by two men that had a vision that emphasized customer service above all else. They Started Erie Insurance in 1925 and is now a Fortune 500 company with over 5,000 employees and 5 million policies in force.

The Founders:

Two men with a dream … both worked at the Pennsylvania Indemnity Exchange (PIE) from 1922 to 1924, but were not happy with the pay and conditions. By fall 1924, the wheels were in motion to start their own company. When they resigned from the PIE, the company had to hire six salesmen to replace them!

Henry Orth Hirt (1887-1982)

H.O. Hirt was a legend in his own time, truly! He was one of five children born to Frank and Sarah Hirt in Erie, Pennsylvania. After putting himself through Wittenberg College, he began a career as a teacher, but after a couple of years, H.O.’s teaching came to a halt when he contracted tuberculosis. After beating the deadly disease, H.O. worked a series of jobs and even brought a fledgling grocery store back to being profitable. But the hard physical labor was not good for his health and he left the grocery business to take a sales job at the Pennsylvania Indemnity Exchange. It’s there he met O.G. Crawford and together they started to build the idea of starting a mutual insurance company. They resigned in December 1924 and began organizing the Erie Insurance Exchange. H.O. watched the company flourish and worked well into his 80s.


Oliver Grover Crawford (1884-1961)

O.G. Crawford, or Ollie, was an unlikely partner for H.O. Hirt. He left home in Kane, Pennsylvania, at age 16 to join the Navy for six years. He was a former railroad brakeman before getting the job as a salesman at the Pennsylvania Indemnity Exchange. A job that H.O. Hirt recommended him for since their paths had crossed years earlier. After putting the plan in place to start the Erie Indemnity Exchange in 1925, they both were enthusiastic and realized they had a knack for sales. O.G.’s claim to fame was writing 243 apps in just 30 days! O.G. retired only eight years after the company opened, but H.O. always said he could have never started the company without his friend and partner Ollie, and he always kept a portrait of O.G. in the ERIE office.


Erie Insurance Now:

Erie Insurance is #376 on the 2020 Fortune 500 List after making it’s debut to the list in 2003. Erie Insurance is the 12th largest auto insurer, 11th largest home insurer, and 12th largest business insurer in the USA even though they are only a regional carrier. Erie Insurance also has earned an A.M. Best’s rating of A+.


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